ANCIENT CORINTH
When the Romans won the war they took away the armour and weapons of all Greece and the walls of every walled city, and Mummius, the Roman general in the field, systematically devastated Corinth; later they say it was recolonized under Caesar.4


The site of ancient Corinth is situated on the isthmus between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf, connecting the Peloponnese to mainland Greece. The plan to cut a canal through it was considered in the Archaic period but not carried out until the end of the 19th century. In earlier times ships were dragged across the isthmus. It was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium when there existed a small Neolithic settlement on the same site. The water of the spring of Peirene probably led to settlements in the area then and later in the Bronze Age. In Mycenean times it was a province of Agamemnon’s kingdom. In the fifth century BC Corinth was one of the three major powers in Greece and it took part in battles against the Persians and later against Athens. In 44 BC colonization by the Romans began.


Most of the ruins of the site of Ancient Corinth which have been uncovered by excavation date from the Roman era and to the city built by Julius Caesar and Augustus. Little survives from Greek times because of the destruction of the city in 146 B.C. 5


According to the mythology of the region there is a connection with the healer Asklepios from the 5th century BC, who probably joined Apollo ‘in a junior capacity’. The Asklepieion was built slightly to the east of the earlier shrine dedicated to Apollo, just inside the city wall, some distance from the centre of the town and close to a spring. In this area there were also a gymnasium, theatre and odeion.6 The Roman town was built further to the south and included a theatre, odeion, Roman bath, temple and forum. (Fig 10 map of site)


In the northeast corner of the archaeological remains of the agora or forum, between the Lechaion Road and the Peribolos of Apollo, on the south side of the courtyard is the Peirene Spring. It is described as being an elaborate construction, of monumental aspect (it had three apses and walls faced with marble) and was the work of Herod Atticus in the second century A.D. The spring has six arches through which access was gained to the water and under the middle arch, between the two standing columns there is a large piece of cipollino marble. It measures 2.12 m. /7 Rf wide, .40 /1.35 Rf in diameter (Plates 3.7, 3.8, & 3.9).


On the north side of the courtyard there are five pieces of cipollino lying on the ground, of lengths varying from .75 m. /2.5 Rf to 2 m. /6.7 Rf long and .37 m. /1.25 Rf/ in diameter (Plate 3.10); there are also other small pieces in the south stoa of .37 m. /1.25 Rf diameter (Plate 3.11).


There is one cipollino column lying on the ground above the walls of the south stoa with a shaft of 3.53 m. /11.9 Rf and diameter at the end with collar of .48 m., /1.62 Rf, another in the same area with a diameter of .56 m. /1.89 Rf and a shaft of approximately 3.35 m. /11.3 Rf but split into 5 or 6 pieces and with collars at both ends. Further west but still on the edge of the south stoa (at the shop and museum end) there is a complete column with small worn collar measuring .05 m. /.16 Rf in depth. The column has a diameter of .53 m. /1.8 Rf at the collar end and a shaft of 1.87 m. /6.3 Rf. It has a hole in the centre at the collar end, .07 m. deep and .05 m. in diameter. At the other end it has a hole .05 m. in diameter, blocked with cement.

4 Pausanius, Vol 1.p.129

5 Papahtzis, N., Ancient Corinth, the Museums of Corinth, Ismthia and Sicyon, Athens, 1977, Ekdotike Athenoon S.A., p.50
6 Cure and Cult in Ancient Corinth, A Guide to the Asklepieion, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Princeton, New Jersey, 1977, page 3.

Maps and Plates

Fig 10.jpg

Fig 10 Ancient Corinth – map of site

Plate 3.7.jpg

Plate 3.7 & 3.8 A cipollino slab at the spring of Peirene, ancient Corinth.

Plate 3.8.jpg

Plate 3.7 & 3.8 A cipollino slab at the spring of Peirene, ancient Corinth.

Plate 3.9.jpg

Plate 3.9 Close up of the cipollino slab at Spring of Peirene, showing

cipollino markings, ancient Corinth.

Plate 3.10.jpg

Plate 3.10 Fragments of cipollino on the north side of the courtyard, ancient Corinth.

Plate 3.11.jpg

Plate 3.11 A cipollino column lying on the edge of the south stoa, ancient Corinth.